Author Topic: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?  (Read 1682 times)

Offline Charlene

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Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« on: June 01, 2009, 12:04:36 PM »


Someone gave me a starter kit last year - mold, follower, dairy thermometer, etc. - but until now I've been using stacks of books to press the cheese with varying degrees of success. I've never actually seen a cheese press in real life but this seems to work.

It cost about $15 to make (not counting the can of tomatoes that's pushing the follower down)- the maple boards were from the bargain store, the dowelling from Home Cheapo (as were the three 2x6s that support it, from the free scrap heap though), and the sushi mat was from Superstore. The 2x6s are in an H shape - there's one right under where the mold is sitting but you can't see that one in this photo. The pavers weigh 20 lb. each and were I think $1.07 each.

Since I've never seen a cheese press in real life, I don't know if I'm missing anything, and I'd appreciate any advice any of you have. Thanks!


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Offline zenith1

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 06:52:17 PM »
Nice looking press. That will work nicely. Now instead of using a stack of books that hopefully have read first, you know exactly how much weight you are using. That is important. I have used a press very much like that one with weights up to 110 lbs. Nice job...
Keith

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 06:48:15 AM »
Looks very nice.
Question for you.  Is this sealed wood?
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Offline Charlene

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 08:45:21 AM »
Looks very nice.
Question for you.  Is this sealed wood?

It isn't. How should I seal maple, or should I?

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009, 08:49:58 AM »
I could be conviced either way.

A maple cutting board for example, I would not seal. as I eat food that is chopped on it. (Then it is easily cleanable)

A maple cheese press,  I might seal, as it will have whey/starter culture dripping all over it and really cannot be cleaned for hours on end, allowing that to be absorbed by it.  I would imagine that sealed wood, would be a bit more hygenic and easier to clean in this case.  The important thing is that you are not eating off of it.  Just keeping bacteria out of the wood pores.
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Offline Charlene

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 09:43:27 AM »
I could be conviced either way.

A maple cutting board for example, I would not seal. as I eat food that is chopped on it. (Then it is easily cleanable)

A maple cheese press,  I might seal, as it will have whey/starter culture dripping all over it and really cannot be cleaned for hours on end, allowing that to be absorbed by it.  I would imagine that sealed wood, would be a bit more hygenic and easier to clean in this case.  The important thing is that you are not eating off of it.  Just keeping bacteria out of the wood pores.

What kind of sealant would you recommend for maple? And should I let the press dry for a few weeks before attempting to seal it now that I've used it?

Edit to add: Thank you for the advice - I should have said that first. I really appreciate it!

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 09:51:45 AM »
I am not an authority here, and others that have these types of presses, please chime in.
But if it were me, I would seal all wooden parts that do not come in direct contact with cheese. 

I would recommend that anyting actually touching cheese be HDPE plastic, or Stainless Steel, or bare wood.

But for the other parts, I would seal with any polyurethane sealent to prevent bacterial contamination.  You might even try some spray on sealent from Krylon.  I would just browse the sealent/stain isle at your local hardware store.


As for drying time, I would imagine a couple of days would suffice.  I would imagine, since no sealent actually touches the cheese that the biggest risk here the smell getting on/in the cheese.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 07:09:51 PM by Wayne Harris »
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 05:39:35 PM »
I have a press that is very similar, with the boards being red oak that we got in a load of scrap wood from a local furniture factory.  I made a wax to coat mine, using carnauba wax, bees wax, and a bit of olive oil to thin it out.  Melted it all together, then poured into a plastic container, then rubbed it on the wood once the wax had hardened.  So far, it seems to be working pretty good.

I'm in the process of buying some barbell weights, after putting an ad on Craigslist.  I've been using a combination of coffee cans full of sand, bags of sugar and flour, and other miscellaneous heavy stuff.  It will be nice to have something that is more consistent.  I really like your idea of using pavers.

Offline Charlene

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2009, 12:37:21 PM »
I'm in the process of buying some barbell weights, after putting an ad on Craigslist.  I've been using a combination of coffee cans full of sand, bags of sugar and flour, and other miscellaneous heavy stuff.  It will be nice to have something that is more consistent.  I really like your idea of using pavers.

One of the reasons I'm using pavers is the consistent weight - we found a scale at Home Depot and each weighed within an ounce of their advertised 20 lb., which surprised me - but another is the fact that they can be baked to sanitize them. I tried covering them with foil but the foil tore about ten seconds after I wrapped them.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2009, 01:43:00 PM »
Why do the weights need to be sanitized?
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Offline Charlene

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 09:55:43 AM »
Why do the weights need to be sanitized?

A lot of bricks, pavers, etc. are porous and can grow mildew.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Charlene's Cheese Press - Advice?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2009, 10:02:20 AM »
Agreed, but unless you are in a "clean" room like the computer chip manufacturers,  a lot of other things in the room can be the source of mildew.  Lots of stuff, curtains, plywood, carpet, ceiling tiles, paper, and air itself can do this.  You can get it all.

I'm not sure I would worry too much about sanitizing the weights as much as the surfaces that would come in direct contact with the cheese itself.   That is; spoons, pans, trays, tables, whisks, followers knives, strainers, followers, cheese clothes, moulds etc.

But that is just me.


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